Science Of The Arts

Interview by Syaheedah Iskandar
Portrait by Jovian Lim
Images courtesy of Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA)

Located in Gillman Barracks, the newly founded Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) is backed by Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with intention to amalgamate the arts and the academic community through its experimental and research based collaborations.

Appointed as founding director of the CCA, Ute Meta Bauer comes onboard with more than 25 years of experience in the arts, having held academic positions at prestigious institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, and was Dean of the School of Fine Arts at the Royal College of Art (RCA). She was co-curator of Documenta11, and her visions lead and propelled the artistic direction of the 3rd Berlin Biennale.

In spite of her achievements, she remains humble and true to her core intentions of community building. Be it in the States or in South East Asia, her determination to create an accessible platform that transcends disciplines of artistic practice is a manifestation of her lifelong passion to create communities that anybody can be a part of. Taking time off her busy schedule, Ute sits down with us for a chat, and shares her plans for Singapore, her new home.

You experience spans institutions such as MIT in the United States, RCA in the United Kingdom, and now, Singapore. What are the environmental differences you have faced so far?

I feel very welcome here, and I think it’s amazing that I can have direct conversations with stakeholders like the Economic Development Board (EDB), my university Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National Arts Council (NAC).

In terms of contemporary art, a lot is happening here in Singapore, as well as the region so it’s definitely a privilege to be a part of this exciting moment of change. You get to meet different communities that will help you learn and understand the different art scenes and that is a great opportunity for us.

What made you decide on the role at CCA?

I didn’t plan to move to Asia, nor did I plan to move to the USA, or any of the other countries. It always came as an offer or some kind of opportunity. I like to be confronted with new challenges and I’m also interested in understanding different societies.

I have been on and off in Asia in the last 20 years but it’s different when you visit. The combination of having an exhibition space, academic research, and residency is a perfect match for what I know. Furthermore, I was interested in the region, so I thought, ‘why not?’

Read more in The U Press N˚5 (Singapore edition).